ADD and Christmas too!

An Overwhelming Season for SO Many
(WAY too many To-dos in SO many categories for one short month)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

How does ANYBODY fit everything in?

Even the neurotypical crowd gets a bit of a taste of ADD/EFD overwhelm as Christmas rapidly approaches — especially those who just went overboard on the Thanksgiving extravaganza.

But those of us who have brains that are ALREADY struggling to manage life’s ordinary details can easily go down with Santa’s ship – turning what could be a terrific break from the everyday struggles into the cluttered ADD/EFD version of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

So Much to Decorate – so little time!

The days when Christmas decor was limited, essentially, to hanging a few stockings and trimming a tree seem to have disappeared like Brigadoon.

NOT that I’m actually complaining about that, understand.
I would have invented “Deck the Halls” if somebody hadn’t beaten me to it.

But even if I had “start early” genes in my DNA, to avoid public censure one really must wait to start displaying Christmas-y items until the season-long summer heat wave has subsided and the autumn leaves have had their 15 minutes of fame (unless one runs a Christmas Shop, which I’ve actually considered – for exactly that reason!).

In the minds of most people, the day after Halloween seems to be an acceptable — albeit incredibly EARLY — start-date for decking  (though I can’t, for the life of me, understand their objections to a larger buffer as a running start!)

Pinterest helps, of course – sort of

Nobody seems to object or poke too much fun at Christmas PINS – even long before Halloween costumes have become the only vision in the heads of little kids everywhere.

I began pinning inspiration images quite early this year, hoping they would help me develop a realistic game plan for Christmas AS I organized my new digs following my recent move.

Oops – THAT little “assist” has now become part of the problem.
I mean, what ADDer needs help dreaming up new things to do?

A woman who already has FOUR full-sized trees with as many decorating themes (and several more table-tops and minis) has NO business trying to remember to look for a thrift-store colander to spray-paint red as stand for her “visions of sugarplums” kitchen tree.

She shows even less sanity pinning a link to a tutorial on how to make a Christmas tree from a tomato cage.

Does that matter?  NOT ONE WHIT. See the problem?


Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

Garlands and Candles and Wreaths – oh my!

Yep.  My vision of Christmas-Yet-to-Come looks more like the Holiday Lane floor of the NYC “Miracle on 34th Street” Macy’s (and the Pinterest home tours of women who have it A LOT more together than I ever will).

Hall-decking was easier to manage during those comparatively few years of my entire life that have not included a recent, frequently sudden, move – BUT the lack of effective storage is always the stopper.

Where-oh-where do the Christmas dervishes STORE all their Navidad-related objects d’arte for ten or eleven months out of every year?

Help a Girl out here!

If anybody’s in the mood to answer, how about a few tips on the following questions?

What form does said storage take?  Do they take it all apart and box it all up (obsessively labeled, of course) – or have they figured out how to store things as decorated from year to year?  HOW, pray tell?

They can’t ALL have mansions with humidity-controlled storage rooms and a staff of worker-bees to make it possible to get things up and down with ease, can they?

Is the hiring of a Professional Organizer the way they do it?




Or are they ALL Professional Organizers themselves – blogging their pretty pictures to taunt the rest of us until we hire their services? (On second thought, I don’t remember reading one single word about throwing or giving anything away, so probably not!)

More to the point – how do they make room in their houses and apartments for all the totes and boxes and trees during the time they are mid-deck – and during the time they are putting it to bed for another year?

THAT would be a blog article that would go viral in a heartbeat!

 Alas, almost everybody seems to prefer to remain mum about that particular secret.
[Best-friend status and keys to the kingdom for anyone who
enlightens us in a guest-post here on]

MY OWN LITTLE SECRET is managing my pace and mood with an unusually large collection of seldom-heard Christmas music of various types and tempos.

I have curated my life-long collection with the help of iTunes:

Jazz instrumentals, Christmas piano,
Soft & soothing (like Windham Hill),
Up-tempo with and without vocals,
Christmas choirs from around the world,
Wild carol renditions from my pop favs
(like the amazing Pointer Sisters, Mannheim Steamroller, etc.)
– and many other click-once-listen-for-hours playlists that offer me my choice of mood and motivation.

Um, that and a generous helping of eggnog – or brandy – or wine. I need something to take the edge off the reality that I can barely walk through my spaces for weeks on end, both before and after the holiday itself, when life becomes an endless scavenger hunt through an obstacle course.

Extending the Season

Like I said in an earlier Christmas post, “Is it any wonder I leave everything up for ages once it’s all done?” 

ONLY the extreme pleasure I take in staring at Christmas order and beauty in my very own home could possibly motivate me to DO all this in the first place!



What Floats my Christmas Boat

  • I want night after endless night of sitting around sipping my super-secret recipe for FABULOUS mulled wine (in my still clean and presentable Christmas jammies) — like a lady of leisure who is able to hire somebody else to do it all each year.
  • I want plenty of time to share it with anyone else who loves it as much as I do – or who appreciates it even a little bit (Total Grinches, please politely decline – without raining on my Christmas parade in what attempts to pass as “humor” – okay? That’s simply mean and uncalled for – and makes me like you a whole lot LESS!)
  • I ALSO want time to plan and host parties where there is enough going on visually to distract from my less-than-perfect housekeeping skills otherwise – with time left to clean up afterwards, at least to the degree that I can sit and stare without agita for several more days (or weeks!).

But we haven’t even GOTTEN to the rest of the Christmas tasks!


Christmas presents must be purchased and wrapped (and possibly mailed!)

Christmas goodies must be shopped for (and usually baked or prepared in some fashion – AND stored in an already impossibly crowded pantry, ‘fridge or freezer)

Entertaining plans must be drafted, and invitations and confirmations handled in some manner

Party-clothes, shoes and accessories need to be located and made ready for the season – with maybe a bit of time left over for a decent haircut and a mani-pedi?

. . . but let us not forget the biggest Christmas decision struggle of all: what to do about Christmas Cards and how to manage whatever we decide!!

ELVES, we need elves!

Of course I suppose I could decide to simplify it all, personally – or to confine the serious decking to one or two rooms.  That, however, would end up making me feel as if Santa has forgotten me once Christmas Eve arrived.  I know myself well.

SO, as I type, still up and at ’em e-a-r-l-y in the morning of Wednesday, December 10th, 2014, we have ONLY 14 days until Christmas Eve – with a sensible but finite buffer of another 12 until Twelfth Night.

Holy Moley!  I can’t imagine that many of you are in better shape than I am – even those of you who have had the under-appreciated luxury of staying put for many years.

Enough of this blogging – I need to get back to some SERIOUS decking until next week’s offerings.  Leave me a quick Christmas-flavored comment (and a “like”) before you rush back to yours, pretty please.

Tell me – how do YOU decorate for the holidays?

  • Are you a minimalist or of the “too much is never enough” persuasion (like the late Charles Faudree, decorator to those for whom money is no object and yours truly who, by necessity, has a DIY obsession)?
  • Do any of you decorate for Christmas AND Hanukkah?  What about anything special for New Year’s Eve?
  • How do you handle Advent and stockings?
  • Anybody on the decorating committee at church?  What additional church-related activities must you plan for during each season?
  • What do YOU do about off-season storage?

Again, how do YOU give and receive gifts at your house? 

Does anybody give gifts for all Twelve Days of Christmas (from Christmas Day until Twelfth Night, January 6th)?

How do those of you with large families handle the exchange of gifts?

Let me know in the comments below.

If you’ve written about any of these topics on your blog or website, leave us a link (only one per comment or you’ll be auto-spammed).  Let’s SHARE our traditions and coping strategies in the spirit of good will toward ALL.

AS ALWAYS, comments are encouraged and eagerly awaited – EVEN from Grinches – as long as you don’t make individual people wrong, and do your best to avoid the dreaded “should” word, I will approve all comers (link-spammers shot on sight, however).

© 2014, 2017, all rights reserved
Check bottom of Home/New to find out the “sharing rules”
(reblogs ALWAYS okay, and much appreciated)

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IN ANY CASE, do stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.

Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this Series (one-on-one couples or group), click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end (or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page). Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)

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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

61 Responses to ADD and Christmas too!

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Reblog Christmas Posts from Your Blog – To Reduce Visual Overwhelm as you Deck your Halls by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  2. dgkaye says:

    Wow, what a post! This was giving me anxiety just thinking about that holiday rush, but oh so entertaining M. 🙂 Honestly, I used to be one of those crazies with huge boxes of ornaments and drapes boughs along my stairway railings and anywhere I thought it should go, and now, the thought of taking it all down is enough to keep me happy pulling out the miniature 3 foot fake tree with minimal ornaments just to feel a little spirit around. LOL. I loved this! 🙂 xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tina Frisco says:

    I LOVE this post! Photos, humor, head-scratching ~ all of it. I’m a minimalist in my apt., Madelyn, but I get to bake, make, and decorate when I visit my family. They have tons of decorations to adorn inside and out, and delicious cookie and nut roll recipes to tantalize ~ the latter of which challenge my dexterity 🙂 I’ve read this twice. Fabulous! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. paulandruss says:

    Thank you for all your entertaining thought on Christmas Madelyn…. Still chuckling!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I find Christmas a total overload – buying presents is more than enough for me, without the rest of it! I don’t bother with decorations, apart from a small artificial tree with built-in fibre optic lights and a fairy on top.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fortunately, we don’t decorate houses for Chanukkah, but I confess to once hiring a professional organizer for some of my closets. What a waste of time and money that was!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lol – ONE thing that doesn’t take days for you to manage. I have a friend in NYC who turned her house into a blue and silver fantasy when her girls were small.

      I’m not surprised to hear about the closet fail – but I am surprised that anyone as incredibly well-organized as YOU are would have thought anybody else could do it *for* you. As you (and I) learned the hard way, organizing is another of those things that needs to be person-specific — i.e., tailored to how the person USES what you are trying to organize. duh!

      I hired a well-known professional organizer for help in my office in NYC – many years ago. Talk about a total waste of time and money! Her system did not work for me AT ALL. I kept “tossing the salad” trying to locate most of the things I needed to do my job!

      My office was back to a mess in about a week because she really didn’t GET that what I – specifically – needed was NOT what she was taught in “organizer school.” LOL

      I don’t write about it a whole bunch because I don’t want to become thought of as “a professional organizer” — but I do work with my clients on helping them determine what they need and on getting it done. (VIRTUALLY – *not* hands-on, on-site help)

      Hard won expertise!


      • I am not that “incredibly well-organized,” but I do keep things under control, which is not an easy task with my husband. Hiring a professional was his idea when I had some health issues after an accident and couldn’t do it myself on daily basis, as I usually do. I had exactly the same experience as you did, i.e. her system didn’t work for me, and she refused to listen to my wishes.

        What you are doing with your clients empowers them to gain individualized, independent skills, which is much more valuable than any “organizer school.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • Isn’t it bizarre how “bossy” some of those Organizers can be? Some of the others are so laissez faire you might as well hire your cats! I was gifted one of those when I lived in Knoxville, and that was her reaction to my telling her about my first experience. She basically watched as I plowed through – which was marginally helpful, but not as much as it could have been — a TOTAL misunderstanding of the body double principle, which she’d picked up somewhere, and certainly not what my friend thought she was paying for.

          I think we would probably agree that the best way to organize for someone else is to ASK not tell – and then do it the client’s way, after a suggestion or two lands on deaf ears. Best case scenario is to learn the principles and how to apply them.


  7. These are all great questions, Madelyn. We put our artificial, pre-lit tree (which is quite lovely) up on Thanksgiving weekend. I have lights on the mantle I leave in place year round. I have a few treasured decorations that I put in windows and on shelves and a few lights in the window (snowflakes). All of my decorations fit in boxes that we store in our basement and it is easy to access them. Our grandson’s birthday is in December so that is our big party we attend. We sing in the church choir and go around to assisted living facilities singing each Sunday in December. That’s about it but I like to view Christmas as a season, not a single day, and we keep our decorations up until after Epiphany. Every year when we get ready to put up our tree, we have a discussion about whether we are ready to downsize to a table top tree. Haha! But I’m always happy to have the big tree up, look at the decorations that mean so much – many home made by people no longer with us. Hope you have a calm, happy season!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I adored reading your response, Molly – thank you – and I’ll bet I’d love your tree as well as the rest of your decorations.

      All of my pine trees, swags garlands and wreaths are artificial as well – I haven’t had a “live” tree since I left NYC. I doubt I’ll ever “vote” to downsize my living room tree, as long as I have room to put up my large one. I’ve already downsized in my bedroom and kitchen, out of necessity.

      I’m with you – my decorations are so meaningful – and my ornaments are mostly hand made, commemorative, or gifts from dear friends who now watch from beyond. The purchased balls (etc) have long-since gone on to someone else to help them fill out their start-up trees.

      I would love to find a church choir that does what yours does (and held rehearsals and performances at an hour I could promise to be awake for – my sleep disorder has made many things I’d love to do impossible). I’d love to tag along with you as you brighten the December Sundays of those in assisted living homes. Warm fuzzes for all, yes?

      Wishing you NOTHING BUT warm fuzzes this December – and a wonderful lead-in to the best year ever.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have become a minimalist as the years advance Madelyn. It becomes too overwhelming if I try for perfection. This year my sisters and I are making each others presents which has been fun. I just have some sweets to make and the parcels will be ready! Singing in our church choir is a big part of my Christmas JOY and it soothes my nervous system…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t go for all over perfection, Brigid – just little spots of it. It drives my young friend Jason nuts, actually, that the house isn’t SPOTLESS before I decorate. I keep telling him to feel free to mop and glow, but he simply points out little places of “not perfection” rather than sitting down to enjoy the glow I make available. I tell him that dust and flock look a lot alike by candlelight – lol.

      I would be thrilled to have my sister still with me and I know we would both enjoy making home made presents for one another. I think I have NOT become a Christmas minimalist because decking the halls has become a me, myself and I tradition I am loathe to abandon for fear of drifting into a deep depression every December. And I truly do enjoy it.

      I would LOVE to be part of a choir – but it would have to be something like The Midnight Revelers for me to be able to participate. 🙂 So I listen my collection of wonderful CDs by incredible choirs from around the world (and sometimes sing along) as I sip a cup of something warm and wonderful and cuddle with my puppy.

      Thanks for sharing your Christmas with me – and enjoy every single nano-second of it!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. jwebster2 says:

    Fascinating collection of posts 🙂
    My late mother was a school teacher, teaching mainly 6 to 8 year olds. So at school she had Christmas until she was sick of it. At home Christmas decorations went up on the first full day of the school Christmas holidays, which was normally the 23rd December and came down promptly at 12th night.

    Depending how much effort my sister and I wanted to contribute depended on how much decorating got done 🙂

    We still do this with our decorating consisting mainly of stringing up Christmas cards

    With the church our Advent is a season complete of itself, and that’s what we celebrate during December. The Christmas services start with a Christingle service for families during the afternoon of Christmas eve, but for me the festival really starts at the midnight Eucharist service.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is great, Jim. Your mother was a wise woman to delegate the home Christmas decorating her kids – and it sounds like whatever you wanted to do was fine by her. My tree is almost always up before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade brings Santa, and it never comes down before 12th Nite. Some years I’m sure I’m the ONLY person in America with a decorated tree still standing – lol.

      I love reading that your Christmas holiday today is primarily church-centered. I continue to look for church nearby with a late afternoon or evening service so I could adopt a church home myself, but they all seem to believe that only early morning services “count” or something – and with my sleep disorder I simply cannot count on being awake for them unless I don’t ever go to sleep on Saturday nite.

      I do attend the occasional candlelight service, when invited, but it’s not the same when I always feel like an outsider. Enjoy the warm glow of your midnight Eucharist service – this year and every year – and be grateful that you have a place to belong.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jwebster2 says:

        a church that is not welcoming is merely a club
        The church is a family, that everybody has been born into.

        Liked by 1 person

        • My thoughts as well, Jim – but people can be shy – forgetting what it was like when they were new to the family. Even though I understand it, it can be uncomfortable to be “the outsider.”

          Liked by 1 person

          • jwebster2 says:

            It can be difficult. In small rural churches (which is my world) there can be genuine surprise at a new face. At the same time there can be a warm welcome, and a willingness to admit somebody into the community. But if the newcomer isn’t rural, or doesn’t have an understanding of rural, the culture gap can be difficult to bridge. This too can make the outsider feel even more of an outsider.
            A thought experiment for you, Imagine joining a community where people

            Assume no meaningful public transport
            Assume 60% self employment
            Have known each other for anywhere between fifteen and fifty years
            To get to the doctor’s surgery, the dentist, or the chemist involves a major logistic exercise and may take all day if you have go get a lift into town with a friend going to work and a lift back when they finish.
            (This is in the UK)
            So the newcomer is often assessed by how much of an asset they are to the community. Young retired people with a clean driving licence and a strong desire to serve always welcome 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • That last paragraph reads like a “Help Wanted for Christmas” ad – lol. 🙂

              And my heart goes out to EVERYONE who has to hitch a ride to town for basic services, especially since my van’s been on the fritz. But I will say that when I have working transportation I’m more than happy to help anybody needing a ride – especially to a church service.

              What’s REALLY tough for me to imagine is knowing an entire community for 15-50 years. I’ve lived like a gypsy since I was a baby. Is it okay to be jealous?

              Have a VERY Merry warm and wonderful rural Christmas this year. I’ll join you in my dreams.

              Liked by 1 person

            • jwebster2 says:

              give you something to be jealous about. I sleep in the same bedroom as I did when my parents brought be back from the maternity hospital something over sixty years ago 🙂

              When I got married we ‘divided’ the house at the stair case and put another kitchen and bathroom in some both families had one each.

              When my daughter was growing up she would wander down the corridor to see her grandmother before deciding who she would have her tea with.

              There are advantages to putting down roots 😉

              Liked by 1 person

            • WOW, Jim – that sounds like one of my favorite black and white Christmas movies! (and I AM jealous – but then, my own grandmother wasn’t exactly one of those warm fuzzy types, and my Dad was in the Air Force, so we had no choice about moving every year).

              I hope your daughter realizes how very lucky she is.


  10. Norah says:

    Wow! Madelyn, what an effort! I need some of those elves, please, and I do far less than you. Christmas for us in Australia occurs in the middle of summer, so our situation is a bit different. I focus my decorations on the living room, but have a few in the dining room and Christmas items for use in the kitchen. My grandchildren helped me decorate the tree this year. It’s a relatively new tree that we’re using for the fourth time. The previous tree we had for years and it was fairly simple to erect. Each branch and its fronds were simply pulled out and opened from the central trunk. The new one was more of a challenge. I didn’t realise, when I purchased it, that it would be different. Every branch needed to be attached to the central trunk, and its fronds spread out.

    Fortunately, the branches are colour-coded according to which level of the tree they are to be attached. They weren’t arranged in the box that way though, and it took a bit of figuring out and much longer than I expected – a bit too long for the grandkids who were 2 and 4 at the time. Luckily we had a few adult helpers too. Before we took the tree down, I bought a couple of big storage boxes, like in your image. I dismantled the tree from the top, row by row. I left the fronds spread out and put the branches in the box starting with the top branches at the bottom. I needed two boxes. The bottom branches finished at the top of the second box. Now when I erect the tree, I just take out the branches and attach them to the trunk in order. It still takes between 15 and 30 minutes, but is a lot less effort than the first time. Then we can decorate together! Long answer – but yes, I do have a system. 🙂

    Cards now that’s another thing. They should have been written by now, and I haven’t even bought them yet. Some I’ll write letters to and include in the card, others I’ll email. Where did this year go? I need some time back. 🙂

    Best wishes to you for the holiday season. I hope those elves get busy and you enjoy your mulled wine, parties and anything! Happy Christmas. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve had a few trees like your new one, Norah – and *much* prefer what I call the “umbrella” trees (sounds like your older one) – each section kind of folds up on itself when you turn it upside down, then “flops” back out like an umbrella when you insert it to the stand (or a prior section). You always have to fluff, however, if you want it to look realistic at all.

      I love hearing that you “store” in stacking totes, top to bottom so you can put together bottom to top. PERFECT! Storing ornaments by tree location would be a super system too – rather than by color or type, as I have done for years. I’m going to give that a try this January (or so – lol!)

      I have a friend who has 300 or so on her *personal* church mailing list – and she has just begun to write out the cards. The mother of an ex-beau, a former school teacher, still writes little notes on Christmas cards for every single one of her students over the years, in addition to friends, family, etc. Every single surface of her house is covered by the cards she receives every single year as well.

      I simply boggle, and I had to make friends with NOT sending cards for many of the OFI years anyway, when I hardly had time to catch my breath and barely had 2 cents to rub together by the time I paid OFI’s bills every December. THEN my address book was stolen when I was mugged a few years back, along with my phone, so I’m not sure how I’d manage all that would be involved to do it now, even if I wanted to.

      So Tink and I will have a quiet little holiday season – listening to the Christmas tunes by the glow of the Christmas decorations. I hope yours is equally relaxing — and thanks so much for sharing your Christmas prep and trips with me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Norah says:

        Wow! Three hundred Christmas cards. I must admit I’ve never sent that many, and the numbers have decreased over the years. While I wrote cards for children I taught during the year, I didn’t continue to write to them. I wouldn’t have their mailing addresses anyway. I’m not sure what OFI means. Googling didn’t help. It told me “Open for Inspection”. I don’t think that’s what you meant. 🙂

        Although my tree system and boxes works well. I’d love to put the tree fully decorated on a small trolley, cover it with a sheet to store, and just wheel it out again next year. It would be so much easier. But then so many of the decorations hold memories of children and others who have given them to me over the years and decorating the tree is a great opportunity to think about those special people. I have only the one tree so all the decorations go together – in another two of those large tote boxes. 🙂 It sounds like you’d have more. You could pack the items for each tree into a separate box and then place them all in a larger storage box. It’s good to find a system that works.

        Being mugged sounds like a very unpleasant event. I hope you weren’t hurt, but I’m sure there would be an emotional effect at least. I’ve never been mugged but had a car stolen twice, and a home burglary. While they are only things, such events do teach us to be a bit more cautious.

        I hope you do have a wonderful Christmas, you and Tink. Enjoy. Best wishes. xx

        Liked by 1 person

        • “OFI” stands for The Optimal Functioning Institute™ – my training company, with which I launched the ADD Coaching Field. Until then, coaching was what I call “plain vanilla” (i.e., not for folks with “mix-ins” – like the ice cream). Although I was a coaching pioneer and spent 7 years as a Senior Trainer with Coach U (world’s first training institute – training folks to coach “neurotypicals”) – it was obvious to me that there was MUCH more to the story.

          I put my original curriculum together for Thomas Leonard (CU founder), but he pulled out at the last minute (almost literally – long story why), so I ended up going forward alone, sans funding (another long story). Which is why I was always broke by the end of the year, as I bootstrapped the field (supporting OFI from my Private Practice, working two full-time jobs, one without salary) in a climate that I don’t mind telling you was TOUGH!

          Re: decorations – oh yes! I have MANY more than a single tree’s worth – all very special to me but nothing anyone else would be interested in buying, I’m fairly certain. QUITE the storage challenge.

          I was gang mugged, actually, and they crushed my dominant hand, resulting in 3 months in a bulky cast, and pistol whipped a friend who had just arrived from out of town – stealing everything in both our vehicles. “Highly unpleasant” pretty much sums it up. The events that dominoed from that event set my life back years, actually. I don’t imagine having your car stolen twice and your home burgled exactly helped you move forward either. So sorry to read that – but we do what we must to keep moving forward, right?

          I hope you have a WONDERFUL Christmas too, Norah. Woofs from Tink.


          • Norah says:

            Thanks so much for your detailed reply, Madelyn. Apologies for not being aware of your training company. There is much more for me to discover about you. There is an amazing story of grit and determination in there that I want to explore further – so much to learn.
            Your mugging was horrendous. The things people do to each other. It boggles my mind. Kindness, empathy, and compassion – these are the things we need to share; not cruelty and violence. What I experienced is nothing in comparison, but took it’s toll nonetheless. I’m so pleased you have been able to move forward after suffering the way you did.
            That’s a very special woof from Tink. Thank you. Happy days! xx

            Liked by 1 person

            • It has been quite a few years since I have been able to train coaches, Norah – and, to tell the truth, I’m not sure, given all, that I am eager to go back to it – but thanks for your kudos. MUCH appreciated.

              The emotional toll when when cruelty, theft or violence cross our paths takes a great deal of strength of character to get beyond, doesn’t it? But the alternative is grim, so we do what we must – if we can.

              And those of us like you and me reach out to others who are struggling once we’ve crossed those rivers ourselves. And that is how God mends our hearts and our world.

              Merry Christmas, my friend.
              xx, mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Norah says:

              The mending of hearts and spirits is necessary for positive growth, Madelyn. Your contribution towards that must make a big difference for so many. Thank you for shining a light in the world.
              Happy days, and happy Christmas to you too, Madelyn. Best wishes. N


            • So true, Norah. We can only look back to help us determine what we will change in the future. I so appreciate your positive voice. Merry Christmas, my friend.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Norah says:

              And to you, Madelyn. 🙂 xx

              Liked by 1 person

  11. I used to be an “All Outer for Christmas Decorating,” but the past two years I’ve become a minimalist and have more time to actually enjoy Christmas! I start decorating on Dec. 1 and leave everything up through January even now. It’s such a lovely season, best to take time to enjoy. Wishing you A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! ❤ xo

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Pingback: Smorgasbord Christmas Posts from Your Archives Reblog – ADD and Christmas too by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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  15. janetkwest says:

    I’ve chosen to opt out of most of the activities, which seems like mean to some. But I’ve just caught up from Thanksgiving and working overtime from my job. I value my sanity over everything else. Priorities. I say, pick a holiday and enjoy it. Thanksgiving is my favorite because it’s when my family gets together. I hope you enjoy yours.


    • Thanks! I am wondering if I’m actually going to maintain my Deck-the-Halls sanity this year myself!

      Following my serious disappointment when my Christmas/birthday present to myself suddenly fell through at the last minute, with the help of the original breeder I JUST located a Shih Tzu puppy that I pick up tomorrow! Peggy Ramundo and I are taking a day trip by car to go get him.

      I am frantically puppy-proofing like a mad thing, and seriously regretting my decision to dig out everything all at once (as I make repeated trips back down to my basement storage unit to remove a great many things likely to pose a danger to a less than 9-week old TINY dog!)

      Even if, for the entire month of December, I have to close off the living room (which currently looks like Macy’s Christmas storeroom after an earthquake) and hastily move a great many items of decor to the shelves in my office (not the prettiest presentation or conducive to the best of functioning), the joy of being a Shih Tzu mom once again will leave me radiantly happy this Christmas.

      Thanksgiving Day has always been quiet for me, since my family is not particularly “chummy” – and THIS year my disordered chronorhythms left me sleeping through the entire day.

      Since I don’t wake to sound, each of my other Shih Tzus have been a HUGE help toward chrono-regulation.
      I can’t WAIT until this new baby has been trained to awaken me with a puppy kiss so that he can go outside!

      Back to the bathroom before the water in my tub turns to ice!

      xx, mgh


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